Servals, Caracals, and Bobcats are very popular pets where it is legal to own them (and sometimes where it isn’t!). They breed well in captivity, are small enough to kinda live as housecats and to not be extremely dangerous, and, if raised properly, bond well with humans. You can buy a bottle-raised Serval or Caracal kitten from a reputable breeder for about $1500; Bobcats are often no more than $500. At risk of setting off an anti-declawing riot, most of these cats are humanely declawed while only a few weeks old. (I do NOT want to get into a declawing debate - I don’t do it, if anyone is wondering.)
Jungle Cats also make excellent pets, and are not that much larger than a housecat. However, they’re not as flashy-looking as the others mentioned, so have not achieved the same popularity.
Ocelots seem to have been the ‘original’ wildcat-pet-of-choice, but are now seriously endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. You must have a license from the US Dept. of Interior and, I believe, the USDA, to own one. Despite the fact that all wild felids are considered ‘endangered’, many of them are actually plentiful in the wild and breed well in captivity. (Some species don’t - Cheetahs were only successfully captive-bred within the last 3 years or so, and I don’t think anyone has managed to successfully breed Clouded Leopards.) Tigers and lions are only endangered in their native habitats - they adapt to captivity and human contact quite well, and reproduce enthusiastically - zoos and such have to use various birth control methods to keep from having huge, unmanageable surpluses of these cats.
A little surprise for those of you who don’t know this - apparently all of the felid species can interbreed and produce viable offspring to one degree or another; the only limitations are major differences in physical size (tiger and domestic cat just doesn’t work), and different lengths of gestation. Even the New World cats (ocelots, jaguars, margays, etc.), who have one less chromosome pair than Old World species, can produce offspring with their more chromosomally-blessed relatives. (Well, this is much closer than donkeys and horses.) Hybrids with chromosome differences are usually sterile; in the other species the males are usually sterile, but the females are often fertile and will even breed with another species to produce things like tiger/lion/leopard mixes.
If anyone is interested in seeing some of these strange combinations, here are some links (one page includes photos of a leopard attempting to mate with a lioness - it’s pretty funny to a cat breeder who has watched their smaller cousins behave identically.):
http://www.messybeast.com/hybrids.htm (pretty good article, not 100% accurate, a couple of so-so pics)
(extensive, slow-loading site with lots of great pics)
And, if anyone has the time and patience to wait on the download (takes forever on a dial-up), here is a link to, hopefully, the future of the Bengal cat breed - an F2 male (no, not mine :(). This is the most spectacular Bengal I have ever seen - the extensive, beautiful photos are well worth the wait - this cat literally takes my breath away. Yes, this is basically a 10 lb. domestic cat! [sub]I’d sacrifice a body part to own him; I’d sacrifice a significant body part if he’s actually fertile[/sub]
Awagati’s Zoot Suit
Umm . . . sorry for the hijack away from Maine Coons. Those of you who like MCs might like to also check out the Siberian and the Norwegian Forest Cat, two large, rugged ‘relatives’ of the MC (similar appearance, same type background except developed in different countries/regions). A hint - ‘Wegies’ or ‘NFCs’ are Norwegians, like ‘Meezers’ are Siamese and ‘Himmys’ are Himalayans.